BERKELEY HEIGHTS - Wharton Music Center (WMC) announces a Blues Weekend for ages 12 to adults July 17-19 at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. This exciting weekend event features workshops and performances by WMC faculty and special guest artist and Blues Hall of Famer, Bobby Kyle. Participants learn and experience the different styles of blues, including Chicago, Texas, Jazz-Blues, and Blues-Rock. Hands-on instruction combined with a lecture demonstration, performance and recording discussion, and jam session make this a not-to-be-missed weekend of blues. Participate in events and workshops or just come to watch. Vocalists and all instrumentalists welcome. The fee to attend the Blues Weekend is $300 before May 9 and $325 after May 9. There is a drop-in audit fee of $25. A performance by Bobby Kyle will take place on Sunday, July 19 at 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or call 908-790-0700.

By the late seventies, Bobby Kyle was backing up Bill Dicey and the pair later became a duo. In the early eighties, Kyle joined the house band at the Stuffed Pepper, a Tampa Bay blues mecca where he worked with such luminaries as James Peterson, Johnny Shines, Raful Neal, Mary McClain Smith, and Tabby Thomas. After six years with the Eddie Kirkland band, Kyle joined the band of Grammy Award-winner Johnny "Clyde" Copeland. Bobby performed with this legendary Texas bluesman on major-label recordings and in concerts, festivals, and clubs worldwide until Johnny's death in 1997. Between touring dates with Eddie Kirkland and Johnny Copeland, Kyle took his solo act on the road, performing his own material at nightclubs and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Now performing with his own band, Kyle's emotional, soulful voice rings true and is forged with a raw, distinctive quality all his own. Honest and forthright, Kyle's original songs tell the story of Everyman with a passion born of life, love and loss.

The Blues Weekend is coordinated by WMC faculty Joel Perry. One of the premier guitarists of our time, Perry has performed and recorded with a veritable Who’s Who list of the music world, traveling to over fifteen countries and appearing in venues from Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall to The Rainbow Room, The Blue Note, and Sounds of Brazil. Highlights of Mr. Perry’s musical journeys include collaboration with the late blues great Johnny Copeland during a U.S. Department of State tour of West Africa in 1982. Mr. Perry has appeared with Papa John Creach, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Lavern Baker, Joni Mitchel, Herb Ellis, Rosemary Clooney, Leslie Gore, James Cotton, Percy France, Leon Thomas, Jimmy Dawkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Foster, and Al Hibbler among others. Mr. Perry has released three recordings: Rainbow Skylight, Perry Airs, and Sonata to the Blues. He has served on the faculty of Wharton Music Center teaching guitar, music theory, and ukulele since 2009.

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Wharton Music Center, where creativity and expression converge with exploration, provides a diverse range of classes and programs as New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center. Serving nearly 1,200 students with high quality instruction in all instruments and voice, musical theatre, drama, and dance, Wharton and its esteemed faculty of talented professionals offer instruction for beginners of all ages, as well as an in-depth, sequential course of study through its Achievement Program, and orchestral and ensemble training with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, its orchestral and ensemble affiliate. New Jersey Youth Symphony features fourteen ensembles, available by audition for students in grades 3 – 12, and its premiere ensemble has appeared in such internationally renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.

Innovative programming and over 500 classes taught weekly, from Early Childhood Music, music theory, and audio recording to Introduction to Instruments, ensures that there is something for all ages and interests.

Part of our mission as a community school for the performing arts is to engage, educate, and enrich our community with a broad spectrum of accessible programming. Dedicated to serving the community, WMC provides instruction at local public, private and charter schools in after-school settings and during the school day. From an assembly program to a full-year residency, our outstanding faculty collaborates with school principals and staff to offer customized curriculum to meet the needs for music, drama, and musical theatre instruction for each school or organization. One of the highlights of our community programs is the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program that provides intensive music instruction to elementary school students attending the Community Charter School of Paterson. In January 2015, Paterson Music Project partnered with Paterson Public Schools to open a site at Public School 1. This new site serves 75 first through fifth graders from P.S. 1 and P.S. 26. Students in the after-school Instrumental String Program learn violin, viola, and cello for six hours weekly. Younger students participate in Pre-Orchestra, a preparatory program which meets for two hours weekly. Pre-Orchestra students sing, participate in paper orchestra, and play the recorder and buckets.

Wharton Music Center builds personal connections in the community through an array of faculty and student performances, many of which are free and allow community members to become more involved with WMC. These often interactive Community Concerts include classical, jazz and family programs and are held at a variety of venues throughout the region. New Jersey Youth Symphony ensembles, both large and small, perform throughout the community.

Located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, New Jersey, Wharton Music Center and New Jersey Youth Symphony serve students from thirteen counties.

For additional information about our community programs and class offerings visit our website www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or call 908-790-0700.